Home » Community » A Trifecta of events at Sri Meenakshi Temple during January 11- 15, 2017

A Trifecta of events at Sri Meenakshi Temple during January 11- 15, 2017

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PEARLAND – The trifecta of events celebrating Arudhra Darshanam, Andal Kalyanam, and Pongal displayed the rich traditions of India and the depth of “bhakthi” (devotion) among the devotees who attended. Each event was a feast to the eyes and ears, and proved to be extremely gratifying to the devotees, thanks to the beautiful decorations and authentic pujas performed by the priests.

Arudhra Darshanam: Priest offering pooja.

Arudhra Darshanam: Priest offering pooja.

Arudhra Darshanam
by M.K. Sriram
Arudra Darshanam, also known as Thiruvadirai is a very important festival, celebrated primarily in southern India. Sri Meenakshi Temple, the symbol of traditional Hindu worship in the southern United States celebrates this in the same fashion as the famous Chidambaram temple in Tamil Nadu. This event occurs on the full moon day, also on Thiruvadirai nakshathra or birth-star, in the Tamil month of Marghazhi. Legend says Lord Shiva descended on earth in the form of Lord Nataraja, and performed an ecstatic cosmic dance. About a hundred devotees gathered on Wednesday, Jan 11th evening and took part in the abhishekam and pooja conducted by the priests. Classic Tamil poems in Thiruvempavai and many vedic hymns were chanted to the spiritual delight of the devotees. The idols were taken out on a grand procession around the temple. After the final Aarthi, prasadams brought by the devotees were distributed among all. The main prasadam by unique tradition is the Thiruvadirai Kali, made of made of Rice, Jaggery, Moong dhal, Coconut, Cardamom and Ghee accompanied with Thiruvathirai koottu which is a dish made using seven vegetables. The event was coordinated by Sheila Sriram and Chitra Kumar. MTS priests, staff, Religious Activities Committee and volunteers worked hard to make this a great religious experience for the devotees.

 

Devotees during Pongal celebrations at MTS.

Devotees during Pongal celebrations at MTS.

Andal Kalyanam
by Kamala Raghavan
Andal is one of the best-loved poet-saints in Tamil Nadu, and one of the 12 azhwars known for their bhakthi towards Lord Vishnu. Andal, also known as “Kodhai” and “Choodikotutha Nachiyar” is considered to be the incarnation of Bhoomi Devi (Mother Earth) who took the human form to show all of us mortals the way to Lord Vishnu’s lotus feet. The 12 azhwars together contributed 4,000 poems in Tamil known as the “Naalayira Divyaprabhandham”, of which 143 poems were written by Andal. The 30 poems known as “Thiruppavai” are known for their simplicity and elegance in Tamil. The poems are believed to be more than 1000 years old, but they are still in vogue with young and old devotees today.
Sri Meenakshi Temple Society celebrated the sacred wedding of Andal with Lord Vishnu on Friday, Jan 13th. Utsava idols of Maha Vishnu and Andal were beautifully adorned and placed in the center of the main temple. Over a hundred devotees eagerly gathered to witness and celebrate this celestial wedding. After the initial rituals including Sankalpam, Vishwaksena puja and Punyahavachanam (purification), the Priests performed all the rituals that are part of a regular Hindu wedding. Parents with unmarried children believe that when they partake in this event, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu will shower their blessings so their children will find suitable partners in life. The event was very well organized by Mrs. Sheila Sriram and coordinated by Bhargavi Golla, Chitra Kumar and Malathi Sundar. They were ably supported by the Temple staff, silpis (artisans) and devotee volunteers. The priests deserved special kudos for the beautiful decorations and authentic divine wedding ceremony of Sri Andal to Lord Vishnu. The devotees were treated to dinner organized by the MTS Food Committee.

Pongal -Kummi at MTS. Photos credit: Kulwant Bhatia

Pongal -Kummi at MTS. Photos credit: Kulwant Bhatia

Pongal
by Arun Narayanan
This year the auspicious Pongal day was stunningly celebrated at Sri Meenakshi Temple. It was even more special because the Pongal calendar day and the temple celebration were both on the same day. Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in India on the first day of the Tamil Month, Thai. It is similar to Thanksgiving in the United States.
The program started with Surya Namasakar through yoga by Hindu Swayam Sevak. At 10:30am the priests began the puja and Mrs. Meena Kannapan and the priests’ spouses lit the first stove of the Pongal celebration. The overwhelming number of devotees registered to do Pongal was at an all-time high. Milk was boiled in vessels over wood burning stoves. As the milk overflowed, chants of “Pongalo Pongal!” could be heard from the devotees. The ladies performed a traditional “Kummi” dance to classic folk music. The enthusiasm was infectious, as the men and children also entertained the crowd with delightful dancing. It felt like you were in Tamil Nadu.
As the music faded and the dancing came to an end, the priests offered the delicious Pongal prasadam to all four deities inside the main Temple: Siva, Meenakshi, Venkateswara and Padmavathi. A special aarthi was done in all the Sannadhis. The executive team thanked the priests, staff and all the volunteers. Malar Narayanan and Sarawathiamma Pillai were the coordinators of the Pongal celebration. Mala Gopal coordinated the Kummi dance and Sheila Sriram coordinated the Puja. It was a great day for the Meenakshi temple devotees. Pongalo Pongal!


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